Smarts, skills make Kowalkowski a success


Smarts, skills make Kowalkowski a success

He would never come out and say it, but when Kristoff Kowalkowski is on the football field he is typically one of the smartest players.
Not only is the 11-year-old Duel winner a straight-A student at Madison Elementary School in St. Cloud, Minn., Kowalkowski comes from a football family. Oh yeah, he can also speak and write Chinese thanks to participating in an immersion program at school.
It’s little wonder Kowalkowski has a complete understanding of whatever offense he is running. “I like being one of the leaders on the field,” the 5-foot-3, 110-pounder said. “It’s really fun when you learn everything and then you can just see it come together on the field. And I like picking apart defenses.”
While he is still developing his game, Kowalkowski has already established himself as a dangerous QB capable of shredding the opposition.

Turnover free

Playing for the St. Cloud/Apollo Mustangs last season, he led his team to a 4-2 record and did not throw an interception or turn the ball over all year. He did have 6 touchdown passes and multiple games with over 100 yards passing.
“I think it’s important,” Kowalkowski said. “When you don’t turn the turn the ball over, you’re not going to give the other team chances to score. If there’s a defender within 3 yards of where I want to throw the ball, I’m not going to throw it.”
Kowalkowski threw the ball extremely well at the Duel in July, winning NFA’s showcase event in his age group. “I just wanted to go there and do my best and see what happens,” he said. “Finishing in first place, it makes me feel pretty cool. It was a great competition and to do so well, I think I’m pretty confident heading into my season.”
Back with the Mustangs this year, Kowalkowski is looking to build off the success he had in 2013. “Just like last season, I don’t want to turn the ball over,” he said. “And hopefully, we can score more touchdown and make more yards after completions and rush for more yards.”

NFA boost

For the past two years, Kowalkowski has been training with NFA to help sharpen his quarterback skills. It has obviously been paying off.
“NFA has helped me with a lot of my mechanics and footwork,” he said. “I want to get better with my footwork. My mechanics are pretty good but with better footwork I’ll be able to move a lot better. I also work a lot with my dad.”
Tom Kowalkowski played college football at St. John’s University in Minnesota under legendary Head Coach John Gagliardi, who retired after the 2012 season with a 489-138-11 record, making him the winningest coach in collegiate history.
Tom is thrilled his son has hooked up with NFA. “I think it’s a wonderful program,” he said. “It really helps the kids. More importantly, they’re teaching them a philosophy about life, and that’s more important than football. I’ve been very impressed with NFA.”

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Scot Gregor is an award-winning sportswriter for the Chicago Daily Herald. In addition to writing about Big 10 and Notre Dame football, Gregor has also covered the White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and college basketball. He grew up in Pittsburgh and watched the Steelers rise to prominence in the 1970s. Gregor has a B.S. degree in Journalism from Ohio University